Envy Versus Inspiration: 8 Truths to Remember

Envy Versus Inspiration: 8 Truths to Remember

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Christine Lu
Jan 14, 2015

We now have access to so many images of beautiful homes and their interiors, and it is a wonderful thing when they inspire us to be creative inside our own homes. However, there is a phenomenon that can happen where the overwhelming amount of information and images can easily turn into unwarranted comparison, jealousy, and resentment or dissatisfaction with our own lives.

Envy is a natural human feeling, but can be detrimental if it isn't addressed properly since it can be paralyzing and discouraging. Inspiration, on the other hand, motivates you to move, compels you to brainstorm and to be creative. As we go into the new year, let's keep these following things in mind to help you stay positive, inspired and creative!

Beautiful homes take a long time to cultivate.

This is not something that is clearly communicated from an image but when you see a lovely home, don't assume that they put it together in a day or two. This is what Apartment Therapy house tours are great for, because you can read the story behind the homes. I have found that the tours I gravitate towards the most are the ones where it turns out the home evolved over time from an accumulation of styles and various life changes. So if you have a particular look that you want to attain for your home, cut yourself some slack, and give yourself months, or even a year, to attain it.

The best styles are ones that are unique, individual & personal.

The most beautiful homes, in my opinion, are those that have a layered look due to the personal touches and the combination of varying styles of a family. Take time to figure out what your tastes are, what your partner's tastes are, and get creative in figuring out how to display that in your home. Take note of how people were able to showcase their personality through the objects in their home, and employ that tactic in your own way.

'Failure' is necessary on the road to success.

Many who have gone before will tell you that they went through a period of trial and error at some point in their journey. Sometimes, it takes buying that rug that turned out to be a passing trend, or painting that wall a deep red to realize that it's not what you wanted after all. It's okay if your bedroom is not exactly how you want it right now; now you know what you like and don't like, and you should be able to better distill it down to what is most important to you about that space.

Always consider: what would work for our family?

When looking at photos for inspiration, take a few more minutes to imagine what it would be like to actually come home to that foyer, unload all bags and jackets, walk into the living room and flop down on the couch. Does that couch actually look that comfortable for snuggling in with your family for movie night? Is that coffee table practical for your kids who like to spread their homework on it? I often find that once I try to picture my family in one of those perfectly manicured homes, I realize that it's not actually a place I would choose to live, and I am able to admire it as an aesthetically pleasing image, rather than coveting that home for myself.

Focus on one thing at a time.

If looking at a picture of a gorgeous kitchen is intimidating and depressing, zero in on one aspect of your kitchen that you want to change. For example, I would love to re-do my entire kitchen, but I get discouraged when I look at pictures of perfect kitchens because I feel like mine will never get there. Instead, I've resolved to find one thing that I can do, and then go from there. Updating the hardware in the kitchen is a project that is doable for us right now, and something that will make a big impact. And remember, small and functional changes are the best way to get started. Adding those wall hooks to your foyer, or adding that basket for your blankets and throws in your living room will take care of a functional problem, but also add style and accessorize your space.

You don't have to recreate exactly what you see to get the effect.

Instead, take time to study the photo and determine what exactly it is that you like about the image. This will help inform your style and pinpoint your priorities. While going through some of my Pinterest board images for a living room, I noticed that in each of the photos, there was a commonality of a big bold rug, a mix of wood and modern elements, and greenery. Now, when I study a photo that I instinctively like, I look to see if those elements are present, and they usually are. I'm able to get inspired by the particular vibe and mood that these elements create for various homes, rather than get hung up by wanting a particular rug or coffee table.

Collect images that inspire you.

Speaking of collecting pictures, this is a good way to ensure that you are not letting those beautiful images just wash over you without putting some thought into it. Maintain a folder on your desktop, or a Pinterest board, if you have one, and collect those images that you are drawn to. Then, take time to go back through them and see what is similar about the pictures and try to construct a narrative of your style, your likes, and your dislikes.

A home is a place where a family dwells.

This is obvious, but it's easy to forget it when we get frustrated by the disorder and mess that is our everyday life, and then look at a picture of a seemingly perfect home. Never compare a home that was cleaned up and styled for a photo shoot to the reality of your everyday home.

Here's to 2015 being a year of getting inspired and getting creative at home!

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